|Publication number||US7382515 B2|
|Application number||US 11/334,990|
|Publication date||Jun 3, 2008|
|Filing date||Jan 18, 2006|
|Priority date||Jan 18, 2006|
|Also published as||US8064124, US20070170540, US20080226929, WO2007084317A2, WO2007084317A3|
|Publication number||11334990, 334990, US 7382515 B2, US 7382515B2, US-B2-7382515, US7382515 B2, US7382515B2|
|Inventors||Wonsuk Chung, Steve Zee, Teruo Sasagawa|
|Original Assignee||Qualcomm Mems Technologies, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (102), Non-Patent Citations (82), Referenced by (20), Classifications (15), Legal Events (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) include micro mechanical elements, actuators, and electronics. Micromechanical elements may be created using deposition, etching, and or other micromachining processes that etch away parts of substrates and/or deposited material layers or that add layers to form electrical and electromechanical devices. One type of MEMS device is called an interferometric modulator. As used herein, the term interferometric modulator or interferometric light modulator refers to a device that selectively absorbs and/or reflects light using the principles of optical interference. In certain embodiments, an interferometric modulator may comprise a pair of conductive plates, one or both of which may be transparent and/or reflective in whole or part and capable of relative motion upon application of an appropriate electrical signal. In a particular embodiment, one plate may comprise a stationary layer deposited on a substrate and the other plate may comprise a metallic membrane separated from the stationary layer by an air gap. As described herein in more detail, the position of one plate in relation to another can change the optical interference of light incident on the interferometric modulator. Such devices have a wide range of applications, and it would be beneficial in the art to utilize and/or modify the characteristics of these types of devices so that their features can be exploited in improving existing products and creating new products that have not yet been developed.
One embodiment disclosed herein includes an unreleased MEMS device, comprising a silicon nitride layer positioned between a sacrificial layer and an electrode layer, wherein the electrode layer is adapted to be movable upon removal of the sacrificial layer and the ratio of silicon to nitrogen in the silicon nitride layer is greater than 3:4.
Another embodiment disclosed herein includes an unreleased interferometric modulator, comprising an etch stop layer positioned between a sacrificial layer and a metal mirror layer, wherein the metal mirror layer is adapted to be movable upon removal of the sacrificial layer and the etch stop layer is adapted to be substantially completely removed upon exposure to XeF2 for less than about 10 minutes.
Another embodiment disclosed herein includes an unreleased MEMS device, comprising a silicon nitride layer positioned between a sacrificial layer and an electrode layer, wherein the electrode layer is adapted to be movable upon removal of the sacrificial layer, the silicon nitride layer is adapted to be substantially completely removed upon exposure to a first etchant that is adapted to substantially completely remove the sacrificial layer, and the silicon nitride layer is adapted to be substantially resistant to a second etchant that is adapted to substantially completely remove the electrode layer.
Another embodiment disclosed herein includes an unreleased interferometric modulator, comprising means for reflecting light, means for supporting the reflecting means during interferometric modulator manufacture, and means for protecting the supporting means during etching of the reflecting means.
Another embodiment disclosed herein includes a method of manufacturing a MEMS device, comprising forming a sacrificial layer, forming an electrode layer, wherein the electrode layer is adapted to be movable upon removal of the sacrificial layer, forming a silicon nitride layer between the sacrificial layer and the electrode layer, wherein the ratio of silicon to nitrogen in the silicon nitride layer is greater than about 3:4, patterning the electrode layer, and removing the sacrificial layer.
Another embodiment disclosed herein includes a method of manufacturing a MEMS device, comprising forming a sacrificial layer, forming an electrode layer, wherein the electrode layer is adapted to be movable upon removal of the sacrificial layer, forming an etch stop layer between the sacrificial layer and the electrode layer, patterning the electrode layer, and removing the sacrificial layer and etch stop layer with a same etchant.
The following detailed description is directed to certain specific embodiments of the invention. However, the invention can be embodied in a multitude of different ways. In this description, reference is made to the drawings wherein like parts are designated with like numerals throughout. As will be apparent from the following description, the embodiments may be implemented in any device that is configured to display an image, whether in motion (e.g., video) or stationary (e.g., still image), and whether textual or pictorial. More particularly, it is contemplated that the embodiments may be implemented in or associated with a variety of electronic devices such as, but not limited to, mobile telephones, wireless devices, personal data assistants (PDAs), hand-held or portable computers, GPS receivers/navigators, cameras, MP3 players, camcorders, game consoles, wrist watches, clocks, calculators, television monitors, flat panel displays, computer monitors, auto displays (e.g., odometer display, etc.), cockpit controls and/or displays, display of camera views (e.g., display of a rear view camera in a vehicle), electronic photographs, electronic billboards or signs, projectors, architectural structures, packaging, and aesthetic structures (e.g., display of images on a piece of jewelry). MEMS devices of similar structure to those described herein can also be used in non-display applications such as in electronic switching devices.
An embodiment provides a method for making an interferometric modulator that involves the use of an etch stop between an upper electrode or reflective layer and a sacrificial layer. The etch stop can be used to reduce undesirable over-etching of the sacrificial layer and the upper electrode or mirror layer. The etch stop layer may also serve as a barrier layer, buffer layer, and/or template layer. The etch stop layer is advantageously silicon-rich silicon nitride, which can be cleanly removed simultaneously with removal of the sacrificial layer.
One interferometric modulator display embodiment comprising an interferometric MEMS display element is illustrated in
The depicted portion of the pixel array in
The optical stacks 16 a and 16 b (collectively referred to as optical stack 16), as referenced herein, typically comprise of several fused layers, which can include an electrode layer, such as indium tin oxide (ITO), a partially reflective layer, such as chromium, and a transparent dielectric. The optical stack 16 is thus electrically conductive, partially transparent and partially reflective, and may be fabricated, for example, by depositing one or more of the above layers onto a transparent substrate 20. The partially reflective layer can be formed from a variety of materials that are partially reflective such as various metals, semiconductors, and dielectrics. The partially reflective layer can be formed of one or more layers of materials, and each of the layers can be formed of a single material or a combination of materials.
In some embodiments, the layers of the optical stack are patterned into parallel strips, and may form row electrodes in a display device as described further below. The movable reflective layers 14 a, 14 b may be formed as a series of parallel strips of a deposited metal layer or layers (orthogonal to the row electrodes of 16 a, 16 b) deposited on top of posts 18 and an intervening sacrificial material deposited between the posts 18. When the sacrificial material is etched away, the movable reflective layers 14 a, 14 b are separated from the optical stacks 16 a, 16 b by a defined gap 19. A highly conductive and reflective material such as aluminum may be used for the reflective layers 14, and these strips may form column electrodes in a display device.
With no applied voltage, the cavity 19 remains between the movable reflective layer 14 a and optical stack 16 a, with the movable reflective layer 14 a in a mechanically relaxed state, as illustrated by the pixel 12 a in
In one embodiment, the processor 21 is also configured to communicate with an array driver 22. In one embodiment, the array driver 22 includes a row driver circuit 24 and a column driver circuit 26 that provide signals to a display array or panel 30. The cross section of the array illustrated in
In typical applications, a display frame may be created by asserting the set of column electrodes in accordance with the desired set of actuated pixels in the first row. A row pulse is then applied to the row 1 electrode, actuating the pixels corresponding to the asserted column lines. The asserted set of column electrodes is then changed to correspond to the desired set of actuated pixels in the second row. A pulse is then applied to the row 2 electrode, actuating the appropriate pixels in row 2 in accordance with the asserted column electrodes. The row 1 pixels are unaffected by the row 2 pulse, and remain in the state they were set to during the row 1 pulse. This may be repeated for the entire series of rows in a sequential fashion to produce the frame. Generally, the frames are refreshed and/or updated with new display data by continually repeating this process at some desired number of frames per second. A wide variety of protocols for driving row and column electrodes of pixel arrays to produce display frames are also well known and may be used in conjunction with the present invention.
The display device 40 includes a housing 41, a display 30, an antenna 43, a speaker 44, an input device 48, and a microphone 46. The housing 41 is generally formed from any of a variety of manufacturing processes as are well known to those of skill in the art, including injection molding, and vacuum forming. In addition, the housing 41 may be made from any of a variety of materials, including but not limited to plastic, metal, glass, rubber, and ceramic, or a combination thereof. In one embodiment the housing 41 includes removable portions (not shown) that may be interchanged with other removable portions of different color, or containing different logos, pictures, or symbols.
The display 30 of the exemplary display device 40 may be any of a variety of displays, including a bi-stable display, as described herein. In other embodiments, the display 30 includes a flat-panel display, such as plasma, EL, OLED, STN LCD, or TFT LCD as described above, or a non-flat-panel display, such as a CRT or other tube device, as is well known to those of skill in the art. However, for purposes of describing the present embodiment, the display 30 includes an interferometric modulator display, as described herein.
The components of one embodiment of exemplary display device 40 are schematically illustrated in
The network interface 27 includes the antenna 43 and the transceiver 47 so that the exemplary display device 40 can communicate with one ore more devices over a network. In one embodiment the network interface 27 may also have some processing capabilities to relieve requirements of the processor 21. The antenna 43 is any antenna known to those of skill in the art for transmitting and receiving signals. In one embodiment, the antenna transmits and receives RF signals according to the IEEE 802.11 standard, including IEEE 802.11(a), (b), or (g). In another embodiment, the antenna transmits and receives RF signals according to the BLUETOOTH standard. In the case of a cellular telephone, the antenna is designed to receive CDMA, GSM, AMPS or other known signals that are used to communicate within a wireless cell phone network. The transceiver 47 pre-processes the signals received from the antenna 43 so that they may be received by and further manipulated by the processor 21. The transceiver 47 also processes signals received from the processor 21 so that they may be transmitted from the exemplary display device 40 via the antenna 43.
In an alternative embodiment, the transceiver 47 can be replaced by a receiver. In yet another alternative embodiment, the network interface 27 can be replaced by an image source, which can store or generate image data to be sent to the processor 21. For example, the image source can be a digital video disc (DVD) or a hard-disc drive that contains image data, or a software module that generates image data.
The processor 21 generally controls the overall operation of the exemplary display device 40. The processor 21 receives data, such as compressed image data from the network interface 27 or an image source, and processes the data into raw image data or into a format that is readily processed into raw image data. The processor 21 then sends the processed data to the driver controller 29 or to the frame buffer 28 for storage. Raw data typically refers to the information that identifies the image characteristics at each location within an image. For example, such image characteristics can include color, saturation, and gray-scale level.
In one embodiment, the processor 21 includes a microcontroller, CPU, or logic unit to control operation of the exemplary display device 40. The conditioning hardware 52 generally includes amplifiers and filters for transmitting signals to the speaker 45, and for receiving signals from the microphone 46. The conditioning hardware 52 may be discrete components within the exemplary display device 40, or may be incorporated within the processor 21 or other components.
The driver controller 29 takes the raw image data generated by the processor 21 either directly from the processor 21 or from the frame buffer 28 and reformats the raw image data appropriately for high speed transmission to the array driver 22. Specifically, the driver controller 29 reformats the raw image data into a data flow having a raster-like format, such that it has a time order suitable for scanning across the display array 30. Then the driver controller 29 sends the formatted information to the array driver 22. Although a driver controller 29, such as a LCD controller, is often associated with the system processor 21 as a stand-alone Integrated Circuit (IC), such controllers may be implemented in many ways. They may be embedded in the processor 21 as hardware, embedded in the processor 21 as software, or fully integrated in hardware with the array driver 22.
Typically, the array driver 22 receives the formatted information from the driver controller 29 and reformats the video data into a parallel set of waveforms that are applied many times per second to the hundreds and sometimes thousands of leads coming from the display's x-y matrix of pixels.
In one embodiment, the driver controller 29, array driver 22, and display array 30 are appropriate for any of the types of displays described herein. For example, in one embodiment, the driver controller 29 is a conventional display controller or a bi-stable display controller (e.g., an interferometric modulator controller). In another embodiment, the array driver 22 is a conventional driver or a bi-stable display driver (e.g., an interferometric modulator display). In one embodiment, the driver controller 29 is integrated with the array driver 22. Such an embodiment is common in highly integrated systems such as cellular phones, watches, and other small area displays. In yet another embodiment, display array 30 is a typical display array or a bi-stable display array (e.g., a display including an array of interferometric modulators).
The input device 48 allows a user to control the operation of the exemplary display device 40. In one embodiment, the input device 48 includes a keypad, such as a QWERTY keyboard or a telephone keypad, a button, a switch, a touch-sensitive screen, a pressure- or heat-sensitive membrane. In one embodiment, the microphone 46 is an input device for the exemplary display device 40. When the microphone 46 is used to input data to the device, voice commands may be provided by a user for controlling operations of the exemplary display device 40.
The power supply 50 can include a variety of energy storage devices as are well known in the art. For example, in one embodiment, the power supply 50 is a rechargeable battery, such as a nickel-cadmium battery or a lithium ion battery. In another embodiment, the power supply 50 is a renewable energy source, a capacitor, or a solar cell, including a plastic solar cell, and solar-cell paint. In another embodiment, the power supply 50 is configured to receive power from a wall outlet.
In some implementations control programmability resides, as described above, in a driver controller which can be located in several places in the electronic display system. In some cases control programmability resides in the array driver 22. Those of skill in the art will recognize that the above-described optimization may be implemented in any number of hardware and/or software components and in various configurations.
The details of the structure of interferometric modulators that operate in accordance with the principles set forth above may vary widely. For example,
In embodiments such as those shown in
As mentioned above, interferometric modulators, such as those depicted in
In one embodiment, the thickness of the etch stop layer 104 may be in the range of about 100 Å to about 700 Å. In some embodiments, the thickness of the etch stop layer 104 is in the range of about 300 Å to about 700 Å. Etch stop layers 104 consisting of SiO2 or titanium may be used, for example, as discussed more fully in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 11/090,773, filed Mar. 25, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. However, SiO2 is not completely removed by the XeF2 used to remove the sacrificial layer 102, leaving undesired residue on the reflective layer 14. Use of titanium tends to distort the flatness of an aluminum reflective layer 14. Accordingly, there is a need for improved etch stop layer materials. As described more fully herein, it has been surprisingly found that silicon-rich silicon nitrides provide good etch stop functionality as well as being well removed by the XeF2 etchant used to remove the sacrificial layer 102. Thus, in some embodiments, the etch stop layer 104 comprises a silicon-rich silicon nitride. In some embodiments, the silicon-rich silicon nitride etch stop layer 104 may be removed during the release etch that removes the sacrificial layer.
As used herein “silicon-rich silicon nitride” refers to any silicon nitride material that has a ratio of silicon to nitrogen greater than the typical stoichiometric silicon nitride ratio of about 3:4. The silicon-rich silicon nitride etch stop layer can be formed by chemical vapor deposition (e.g., at low temperature by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition) or any other suitable means. In some embodiments, the silicon-rich silicon nitride has a silicon to nitrogen ratio of greater than about 1:1. Preferably, silicon nitride films are provided that have a refractive index of greater than about 2.1. More preferably, silicon nitride films are provided that have a refractive index of greater than about 2.2.
In the illustrated embodiment, the upper reflective layer 14 (or other movable electrode layer for MEMS devices other than interferometric modulators) may be aluminum. In other embodiments, the upper reflective layer 14 may be a material that comprises aluminum and thus may be an aluminum alloy such as, for example, Al—Si, Al—Cu, Al—Ti, or Al—Nd. The sacrificial layer 102 comprises molybdenum in the illustrated embodiment. Other suitable sacrificial materials include, but are not limited to, amorphous silicon (“a—Si”), germanium, and tungsten. In some embodiments, the etch stop layer 104 also acts as a diffusion barrier to prevent interdiffusion between the material in the sacrificial layer 102 and the upper reflective layer 14. For example, where the sacrificial layer 102 is amorphous silicon and the upper reflective layer 14 is aluminum, an etch stop layer 104 of. silicon-rich silicon nitride will prevent interdiffusion between the aluminum in the upper reflective layer 14 and the silicon in the sacrificial layer 102. In some embodiments, the materials used for the fabrication of the sacrificial layer 102, the reflective layer 14, and the etch stop layer 104 are selected in combination with one another to bring about certain desired effects such as etch selectivity, resistance to diffusion (diffusion barrier), barrier to crystallographic influence, and crystallographic templating, as described in greater detail below.
The upper reflective layer 14 and etch stop layer 104 are spaced from a glass substrate 20 by posts 18, which in the illustrated embodiment include support plugs 42. In other embodiments, the upper reflective layer 14 may be supported by other structures, including side walls, such as for example is depicted in
It has been found that the presence of an etch stop layer between the upper reflective layer and the sacrificial layer (such as the etch stop layer 104 between the sacrificial layer 102 and the reflective layer 14) may significantly improve one or more aspects of various processes for making interferometric modulators (including arrays thereof), and/or may improve one or more qualities of the resulting interferometric modulators themselves. For example, the etch stop layer 104 may comprise or serve as an etch stop as described below with reference to
In view of the illustrated embodiments, those skilled in the art will understand that similar etch stop layers may be used to manufacture other MEMS devices, including interferometric modulators of the general types illustrated in
A third subpixel sacrificial layer 102 c is then deposited over the exposed portion 110 b of the oxide dielectric layer 110 and the second subpixel sacrificial layer 102 b as illustrated in
The planarization material 42 is not removed by the etchant and thus remains to form posts 42 (
Alternatively, gaseous or vaporous XeF2 is used as an etchant to remove both the molybdenum sacrificial layers 46 a, 46 b, 46 c, 46 d and the etch stop layer 104 b simultaneously. For example, as described further below, it has been surprisingly discovered that silicon-rich silicon nitride may be completely removed using a XeF2 etch. It will be understood that XeF2 may serve as a source of fluorine-containing gases such as F2 and HF, and thus F2 or HF may be used in place of or in addition to XeF2 as an etchant for the preferred sacrificial materials, including molybdenum, amorphous silicon, germanium, and tungsten.
A comparison of
The materials used for the fabrication of the sacrificial layer(s) 102, the reflective layer 14, and the etch stop layer 104 are preferably selected in combination with one another to bring about certain desired effects. In one embodiment, the etch stop layer 104 also serves as a diffusion barrier layer that slows diffusion of metal from the reflective layer 14 into the sacrificial material 102. It has been found that such diffusion is often undesirable because it tends to blur the boundary between the reflective layer and the sacrificial layer, resulting in reduced etch selectivity during processing and reduced mirror quality in the resulting interferometric modulator. The etch stop layer/barrier layer 104 preferably has a thickness in the range of about 300 Å to about 700 Å.
In one embodiment, the etch stop layer 104 also serves as a buffer layer that substantially prevents a crystallographic orientation of the sacrificial material 102 from producing a corresponding crystallographic orientation in the reflective layer 14. It has been found that some materials used to form the sacrificial layer display a crystallographic orientation after deposition and/or subsequent processing steps. For example, molybdenum is a crystalline material having a crystallographic orientation (typically body centered cubic) on any particular surface that results from the crystalline lattice spacing of the molybdenum atoms. When a reflective layer 14 is deposited directly onto a molybdenum sacrificial material 102, the depositing metal may tend to follow the crystallographic orientation of the underlying molybdenum, producing a corresponding crystallographic orientation in the reflective layer 14. The lattice spacing of the resulting deposited metal layer is often different than it would be in the absence of the underlying molybdenum, and in many cases the deposited metal layer is mechanically strained as a result. Upon removal of the sacrificial layer, the as-deposited lattice spacing of the metal atoms may relax to the natural lattice spacing for the metal, in some cases changing the dimensions of the reflective layer and producing undesirable warping.
For embodiments in which the etch stop layer 104 also serves as a buffer layer, the etch stop layer/buffer layer 104 is preferably amorphous or does not have the same lattice spacing as the underlying sacrificial layer 102. For example, silicon-rich silicon nitride is typically amorphous. The metal atoms deposit on the etch stop layer/buffer layer 104 rather than on the underlying sacrificial layer 102, and the buffer layer substantially prevents a crystallographic orientation of the sacrificial layer 104 from producing a corresponding crystallographic orientation in the reflective layer 14.
In one embodiment, the etch stop layer 104 balso serves as a template layer having a crystalline orientation that is substantially similar to a crystallographic orientation of the reflective layer 14. As discussed above, a depositing metal may tend to follow the crystallographic orientation of the underlying layer, producing a corresponding crystallographic orientation in the metal layer. This tendency may be used to advantage by selecting, for use as an etch stop layer 104, a material that has a crystallographic orientation that would be desirable to impart to the reflective layer 14. An etch stop layer 104 formed of such a material thus serves as a crystallographic template that produces a substantially similar crystalline orientation in the subsequently deposited reflective layer 14.
The processing steps used to fabricate the interferometric modulators and arrays thereof described herein are preferably selected in combination with the materials used for the fabrication of the sacrificial layer 102, the reflective layer 14, and the etch stop layer 104 to bring about certain desired effects. For example, in one embodiment described above with reference to
With reference to
The above embodiments are not intended to limit the present invention, and the methods described herein may be applied to any structure in which two materials having similar etching profiles are used in a proximate area and subjected to etching where selective etching is desired. Preferably, the methods described herein may be applied to increase etch selectivity between combinations of an Al-containing material and a Mo-containing material. No structural limitation or restriction is imposed or intended. Further, no limitation or restriction is imposed or intended on the particular formation sequence.
The methods described herein for the fabrication of interferometric modulators may use conventional semiconductor manufacturing techniques such as photolithography, deposition (e.g., “dry” methods such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and wet methods such as spin coating), masking, etching (e.g., dry methods such as plasma etch and wet methods), etc.
A thin film of standard silicon nitride (silicon to nitrogen ratio of 3:4) formed on a substrate was tested for sensitivity to various etchants including PAD, PAN and XeF2 etchants. A test pattern mask was applied to the standard silicon nitride films and the films were exposed to the etchants. After removing the pattern mask, any resulting step height was measured to determine sensitivity to the etchants. Exposure to the PAD etchant was at room temperature for a 10 minute soak. The standard silicon nitride film was only very slightly etched by the PAD etchant. Exposure to XeF2 consisted of using two cycles of 120 s of gas fill time followed by 300 s of etching time. No etching of the standard silicon nitride was observed. Exposure to the PAN etchant was at room temperature for a 10 minute soak. No etching of the standard silicon nitride was observed. Thus, standard silicon nitride is not sensitive to PAD, PAN, or XeF2 etchants.
Test wafers were constructed using five different deposition conditions to form various silicon nitride films on glass or silicon wafers. The silicon nitride films were formed by Micralyne, Inc. of Edmonton Alberta using plasma enhanced chemical vapor depositionon (PECVD) by reaction between SiH4 and NH3. All silicon nitride films were fromed at a pressure of 900 mTorr and a temperature of 350° C. RF power for generating the plasa was 20 W. The gas flow rates, deposition rates (DR), and measured refractive indices (RI) of the resulting films are indicated in Table 1.
Reaction conditions for silicon nitride test wafers.
The sensitivities of these test films to etching by XeF2 and PAN etchants were determined by applying a test pattern mask and then exposing the films to the respective etchants. The pattern mask was then removed and any resulting step heights measured. The XeF2 etch test consisted of exposing the five films formed on glass wafers to two cycles of 120 s XeF2 gas fill time followed by 300 s of etch time. The PAN etch test consisted of soaking the five films formed on silicon wafers in PAN etchant for 10 minutes. The PAN etchant resulted in no observable etching of any of the silicon nitride films. In contrast, the silicon-rich silicon nitride films (e.g., those formed by reaction conditions 2-5) were sensitive to XeF2 etching. Table 2 lists the observed step heights formed from XeF2 etching of the test pattern.
Step heights caused by XeF2 etching.
Step Height (Å)
Test wafers were constructed using four different deposition conditions to form various silicon nitride films on glass or silicon substrates. The silicon nitride films were formed using plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition by reaction between SiH4 and NH3. All silicon nitride films were formed at a pressure of 650 mTorr. RF power for generating the plasma was 25 W. The gas flow rates, temperature, deposition rates (DR), and measured refractive indices (RI) of the resulting films are indicated in Table 3. Condition 1 corresponds to deposition conditions resulting in standard silicon nitride (i.e., a silicon to nitrogen ratio of 3:4). Condition 4 corresponds to the standard conditions except for a lower reaction temperature. Increasing the ratio of the SiH4 reactant to NH3 resulted in an increase in refractive index, indicating an increase in the silicon content of the resulting film.
Reaction conditions for silicon nitride test wafers.
T (° C.)
The sensitivities of these test films to etching by XeF2 and PAN etchants were determined by applying a test pattern mask and then exposing the films to the respective etchants. The pattern mask was then removed and any resulting step heights measured. The XeF2 etch test consisted of exposing the four films to four cycles of 120 s XeF2 gas fill time followed by 300 s of etch time. The PAN etch test consisted of soaking the four films in PAN etchant for 10 minutes. The PAN etchant resulted in no observable etching of the silicon nitride films. On glass wafers, standard silicon nitride (e.g., wafer no. 1) also showed no observable etching as a result of exposure to XeF2. In contrast, silicon-rich silicon nitride films on glass wafers (e.g., wafer nos. 2 and 3) were sensitive to XeF2, resulting in measurable step heights where the film was etched. The wafer no. 4 silicon nitride films showed some sensitivity to XeF2 etching, however, the resulting step heights were not consistent.
All of the silicon nitride films were sensitive to XeF2 etching on a silicon substrate, however, standard silicon nitride (e.g., wafer no. 1) was not completely removed. In contrast, the silicon-rich silicon nitride films on silicon substrates were completely removed upon XeF2 etching.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various omissions, additions and modifications may be made to the processes described above without departing from the scope of the invention, and all such modifications and changes are intended to fall within the scope of the invention, as defined by the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||359/290, 359/302, 359/578, 438/757|
|International Classification||G02B26/08, G02B27/00, H01L21/302, G02B26/00|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10T428/31678, B81C1/00801, G02B26/001, B81C2201/014, B81B2201/047|
|European Classification||B81C1/00L, G02B26/00C|
|Jan 18, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: QUALCOMM MEMS TECHNOLOGIES, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHUNG, WONSUK;ZEE, STEVE;SASAGAWA, TERUO;REEL/FRAME:017514/0348;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060113 TO 20060116
|Jun 27, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: QUALCOMM INCORPORATED, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:QUALCOMM MEMS TECHNOLOGIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019493/0860
Effective date: 20070523
Owner name: QUALCOMM INCORPORATED,CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:QUALCOMM MEMS TECHNOLOGIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019493/0860
Effective date: 20070523
|Feb 27, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: QUALCOMM MEMS TECHNOLOGIES, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:QUALCOMM INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:020571/0253
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Owner name: QUALCOMM MEMS TECHNOLOGIES, INC.,CALIFORNIA
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Effective date: 20080222
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Year of fee payment: 4
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